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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 11, 1999)
SAN DIEGO - Looking at
Nebraska in its 23-20 loss to
Arizona, I didn’t see the silver lining
in the dark cloud of NU’s season.
Some did. Some saw a Nebraska
team that has enough potential and
big players returning for next season
to erase anyone’s thoughts of the
long, unexpected 1998.
Not me. I see a Nebraska team
with more questions than answers
heading into the spring. I see a team
that has to replace three defensive
I see a team with a quarterback
controversy that will linger for too
long. I see a DeAngelo Evans, who,
for all his^talent, has produced
V UI J VU1 J Ul 1 l/Uvlv.
I see an offensive line that has to
replace two starters and will contin
ue to have growing pains next year.
I see a coach in Frank Solich who
hasn’t discovered the wonders of the
trick plays. I wonder if he ever will.
Most of all, I see a Nebraska
team that still has not come to terms
with exactly where it is in the nation
al scheme of things.
Things move in cycles in foot
ball. Every team experiences ups and
downs in national scene. Few teams
are great every smgle year. None are,
really. And eventually, the teams on
top are figured out by the opposition.
It's either that, or they screw up.
Texas. Miami. Alabama.
Clemson. Penn State. Southern
California. Georgia. All have been
powerhouses at one time or another.
All have been figured out.
Oklahoma and SMU sold them
selves down the river with violations.
NU may be entering one of those
downswings. The Cornhuskers
were in a down period in the late
1980s/early 1990s. It was then that
Tom Osborne decided to change the
team defensively. It resulted in three
Osborne did that same thing in
the early 1980s by switching com
pletely to the option. It resulted in
some of the best teams and offenses
NU has ever had.
It may be time for that again. Not
big changes, mind you. But a few. A
re-evaluation of the attacking
defense might be good.
Solich also needs to look honest
ly and fairly at NU’s offense and
realize the shortcomings it pro
It’s time to look at the whole sys
tem. It would be easier to sit back and
wait for the team to reload. It might
happen. It’s fair to expect it. It’s hap
pened every other year.
But what if the reloading doesn’t
happen? Another 9-4 season? Fans
might have accepted that in 1990,
but after three national titles, they
won’t stand for it. The clouds will
only get darker.
Sam McKewon is a junior
news-editorial and political sci
ence major and a Daily Nebraskan
“We had some chances to make plays in the first half and we didn’t.”
Turnovers, rushing woes doom NU
in first four-loss season since 1968
By Sam McKewon
SAN DIEGO - Jay Foreman looked
The middle linebacker had just fin
ished his career at Nebraska with a
Floliday Bowl loss. Here was a player
who won two national titles as a Husker,
one just last year. And here he was
afterward, players were disappointed
about the loss.
But they were used to it, if only a lit
tle. They had seen it three times already.
And Nebraska saw it in almost the exact
same fashion as it saw its final loss of
NU was unable to establish a consis
tent running game throughout the con
test. In fact, the attack was stagnant -
gaining only 87 yards on 34 carries for a
2.5 average. Arizona, by contrast,
gained 107 yards. UA running back
i rung i^anioare out
gained NU by him
self. That hadn’t
happened since the
1992 Orange Bowl.
lost the lead, too -
the third time it
resulted in a loss.
NU did answer a
with an eight-play,
88-yard drive of its
own. Of course, it
came after quarter
back Eric Crouch
had been intercept
ed by UA’s do
McAlister, who promptly fumbled the
ball right back to Nebraska.
When Crouch, who completed 12
of 28 passes for 198 yards and two
touchdowns, hit tight end Tracey
Wistrom with a 4-yard touchdown pass,
the Huskers regained the lead at 20-16
and seemed poised to win a game they
almost threw away in the first half
“We had some chances to make
plays in the first half and we didn’t,”
voacn frame souen
said. “We didn’t get
things going on
offense, and we
made some mistakes
on special teams.”
took the game’s
opening kickoff and
moved nowhere, the
Wildcats punted -
fumbled back to UA.
Arizona led 3-0.
NU then had a
Kris Brown field
goal blocked. Two
possessions later, UA
McDonald nailed a 25-yard field goal.
Arizona led 9-0 when McAlister
returned a punt 65 yards for a touch
down.It was nullified for a block in Joel
Makovicka s back, a questionable call at
All the while, Nebraska’s defense
was plugging the awaiting dam burst,
stopping the Wildcats inside the NU 20
three times. The Huskers, led by
Holiday Bowl defensive MVP Mike
Rucker, held Arizona to 99 yards in the
first half and -1 yards rushing.
But it seemed like the Blackshirts
were on the field the entire first half,
something that would take its toll in the
NU countered in the second with 13
points - two field goals and a 45-yard
touchdown pass from Crouch to
Wiggins. The Huskers led 13-9 at half
“The beginning of the second half,
we had a chance to put them away,” tight
end Sheldon Jackson said. “But we did
n’t do it. We didn’t get any points in the
beginning of that second half.”
It was Arizona that scored first in the
second half, and not until the fourth
quarter. The Wildcats, who had plunged
into the NU defensive line without suc
cess for three quarters, found a new
weapon: the cutback.
“It’s just the big running plays that
Please see HOLIDAY on 14
ABOVE: NEBRASKA linebacker Jamie Burrow and fullback Billy Legate scram
ble for the ball with Arizona’s Dennis Northcutt after an Arizona fumble.
TOP: NEBRASKA OFFENSIVE TACKLE Kyle Kollmorgen walks off the field fol
lowing the Holiday Bowl held at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The Huskers
were defeated by the Arizona Wildcats 23-20. It wasihe fourth loss for the
Huskers this season.
waiveiling, uuuu^ii no 5t-a~
son since 1968.
The 23-20 defeat to Arizona was not
even an hour old and Foreman and
many other Huskers knew why they had
lost - a striking contrast to the foggy
bewilderment of the Texas game and
fiery anger of the Kansas State game.
With no more games left to play, it
seems pointless to be furious.
Foreman, who had been the most
vocal about NU’s superiority after the
KSU loss, had no indignant speeches
prepared outside the Qualcomm
Stadium's locker room. Rather, it was a
simple analysis of the loss to No. 4
Arizona (12-1), coupled with
Nebraska’s performance all season.
“We should have played better
tonight,” Foreman said. “Shoulda
played better all season, really. We’ve
been in a funk the whole season.”
“But you know what, that’s just the
kind of team we were,” he said. “We just
expected to win. We could have been
undefeated, but we could have been 6-6,
too. With the way we played, we’re a lit
tle bit lucky not to have more losses.”
No. 17 NU ended up somewhere in
between - at 9-4 and outside of the top
10 for the first time in six years. And
We could have been
undefeated, but w6
could have been 6-6,
too. With the way we
played we re a little
bit lucky not to have
more losses ”
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